I have always hated the word “fat”. When people would call me it as a kid/teenager/adult that dreaded hay fever eye burning would immediately cause welling and I’d have to run and hide until the crying jag would pass. Tender heart? Thin skin? Wimp? Maybe… Why does a 3-letter word stating truth bother me so much? I never figured that out as a kid or as a teenager, but as an adult, I had a brief moment of clarity one time (brief is the key word when used in the same sentence as clarity with me) and it hit me like a runaway turnip truck. It’s the word “fat” used in the following way that I can’t take.
You are fat.
She is fat.
I am fat.
Except… I am NOT fat… I have fat (enough to feed a couple of small villages in Africa)… but I am not my fat. I also have boogers, but I am not boogers! It’s ridiculous when you use boogers in that way… and yet fat gets batted around like a Mike Tyson fight at an Ears, Nose, and Throat Doctor Convention.
I’ve let that word define me for so long it’s sometimes hard to see/know who I really am. I am a daughter (of God and my parents)… a sister… a friend… a cousin… an aunt… a person. At times I am big-hearted, kind, funny, hard-working, talented, smart. At other times I am stubborn, bull-headed, anxiety-ridden, impatient. I am someone worth knowing. I am more than my outside appearance. I am Whitney Lyn… the good and the bad all rolled into a giant ball of fluff and heart.
But I am not fat.
A few months ago I happened upon a 2-part docuseries called Fat and Back. The lady on the show (I hate to use her name because it only gives her more publicity but for the sake of anyone’s curiosity, her name is Katie Hopkins) openly and proudly claims she hates fat people. She would not hire a fat person to work for her… she would not be friends with a fat person. In her mind, people who have fat are put into a category one tier beneath people with plague and Robert Durst. The purpose of her documentary was to prove to fat people that they are lazy losers who should be able to lose weight like it weren’t no thing. So, she set out to gain something like 40 pounds in 3 months. The 2nd part of her Loser-mentary was her trying to lose the weight over the course of 3 months. Proof to no one but her ignorant self. If losing weight were just about the trite calories in versus calories out diatribe, we’d all by Cindy Crawford on Nutrisystem.
She has failed to take into account the “why”. Why people gain weight is the biggest hurdle to jump over… and even when you think you’ve figured out the why and have cleared said hurdle, it can all come crashing down on you. Having fat is my lifelong cross to bear… and it’s not because I am lazy or I am purposely sitting on my aspercreme amidst a pool of Mallomars every night. It’s because of my “why”… and my why will be a lifelong struggle. It’s my biggest trial and I accepted it before I came down to this Earth. I told God I would take it… and He knew I could handle it… because He doesn’t give us more than we can handle. The difference between our trials is I wear mine on the outside… yours you may be able to bury deep inside… and if I can find a way to bury mine deep inside, I’ll have invented the last “die”t drug this world will ever need.
My plea is that we as a society stop thinking of fat-shaming as an acceptable prejudice. We’ve all done it. Looked at someone walking down the street and commented on their size/shape… but have we ever stopped to realize that there is an actual person with feelings and hopes and dreams living beneath that burdensome exterior?
I will never be accepting of my “fat”… I’ll forever wake up each morning ready to start anew on the journey to the svelte woman in my imagination… but in the meantime, you all can call me Whitney… not fat.